Starting a Student Leadership Group: Strategies & Tools for Successful Student Athlete Leadership

Starting a Student Leadership Group: Strategies & Tools for Successful Student Athlete Leadership

As an athletic director, one of the most rewarding aspects of the role is nurturing the potential of student athletes beyond the playing field. A Student Athlete Leadership group provides a platform for young athletes to develop valuable skills and qualities that will benefit them throughout their lives. In this blog post, we will explore strategies and tools to effectively lead and guide a Student Athlete Leadership group, as well as provide advice for a preseason kickoff event.

  1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives: To provide direction and purpose, it is crucial to establish clear goals and objectives for the Student Athlete Leadership group. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). By involving the group members in this process, you foster a sense of ownership and commitment.
  2. Develop a Leadership Curriculum: Create a structured leadership curriculum that covers key areas such as effective communication, teamwork, time management, goal setting, and decision making. Identify relevant resources and materials, including books, videos, and online courses, to support your curriculum and make the sessions engaging and informative.
  3. Guest Speakers and Mentorship Programs: Invite guest speakers, such as successful athletes, coaches, or motivational speakers, to share their experiences and insights with the group. Their stories can inspire and motivate student athletes to strive for excellence. Additionally, consider establishing a mentorship program where experienced athletes can provide guidance and support to younger members, creating a strong support system within the group.
  4. Regular Meetings and Workshops: Schedule regular meetings with the group to discuss progress, address challenges, and plan upcoming events. Workshops focused on specific leadership skills can further enhance the development of student athletes. Encourage open discussions, brainstorming sessions, and group activities that promote active learning and collaboration.
  5. Team-Building Activities: Organize team-building activities that foster collaboration, trust, and unity among the group members. Outdoor challenges, problem-solving exercises, and community service projects can strengthen relationships and develop important leadership qualities such as empathy, resilience, and adaptability.
  6. Leadership Opportunities Within Sports Teams: Encourage student athletes to take on leadership roles within their respective sports teams. Whether it's serving as team captains, organizing team events, or mentoring younger players, these opportunities provide practical experiences for developing leadership skills in a sports context. Offer guidance and support to these individuals, empowering them to grow as leaders.
  7. Preseason Kickoff Event: The preseason kickoff event sets the stage for the upcoming year and is a fantastic opportunity to bring the group and coaches together. Plan interactive activities, team-building exercises, and discussions centered around the group's goals and objectives. Introduce the coaches, fostering open lines of communication between coaches and student athletes, and emphasizing the importance of collaboration and shared vision.

Leading a Student Athlete Leadership group is a fulfilling endeavor that empowers young athletes to develop essential life skills and qualities. By setting clear goals, implementing a well-rounded leadership curriculum, engaging guest speakers, and providing mentorship opportunities, you create an environment conducive to growth and learning. Regular meetings, team-building activities, and leadership opportunities within sports teams further reinforce the development of leadership skills. Finally, a preseason kickoff event serves as a platform to inspire and unite the group, setting the tone for a successful year ahead.

Remember, the impact of a Student Athlete Leadership group extends far beyond the sports arena, shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Good luck in your journey of guiding and inspiring these remarkable student athletes!

Scott Garvis C.M.A.A.